Will Germany impose a 'mosque tax'?

Support growing in Germany for "mosque tax" to make Islamic institutions less dependent on anti-democratic or "radical" foreign funding.

Nissan Tzur,

Mosque (illustration)
Mosque (illustration)
iStock

Support is growing in Germany for a "mosque tax" to make Islamic institutions less dependent on potentially anti-democratic or "radical" foreign funding sources, AFP reported Sunday, citing local media.

The federal government sees it as "a possible path", according to an answer to a parliamentary query, the Welt am Sonntag newspaper reported.

Several of Germany's 16 states had also signaled support in principle for the idea which would mirror Germany's voluntary Christian "church tax", the newspaper said.

Concern has grown in Germany about the influence of foreign funding sources on mosques for the country's estimated five million Muslims, who hail mostly from Turkey and Arab countries.

Some 900 mosques in Germany are run by the Turkish-Islamic Union of the Institute for Religion (Ditib), under the authority of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government.

Its imams are paid by the Turkish state, and the group has come under scrutiny with some of its members suspected of spying on Turkish dissidents living in Germany.

At the height of a row between Germany and Turkey in mid-2017, two German ministers warned in a Spiegel Online commentary that Erdogan's "dangerous ideologies must not be imported to Germany via certain mosques."

In other cases, some mosques have come under police scrutiny or been closed for preaching radical and militant Islamist ideas.

Germany has been on a high level of alert due to a series of terrorist attacks in the country in recent years.

The worst such attack took place in December of 2016, when Tunisian terrorist Anis Amri killed 12 people and injured dozens more when he drove a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin.

In June of 2017, German authorities arrested a Tunisian man on suspicion of trying to build a biological weapon using the deadly poison ricin.

Welt am Sonntag said in Sunday’s report that, in the newspaper's own survey, several states had affirmed that mosque communities in Germany should be able to finance themselves.




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